Marshall University outreach programs get boost from feds

By Deana Carpenter | Jul 27, 2016

WASHINGTON – Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, has been awarded $544,320 in grant funding through the U.S. Department of Education’s Talent Search Program.

The announcement came down from the offices of U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

The grant is through the U.S. Department of Education under the umbrella of federal TRiO programs, which aim to help low-income students, first-generation college students and students with disabilities.

Two separate programs that have been serving Marshall University for the past 13 years will receive the grant. They include the Empowering Appalachia Talent Search Program, which serves Cabell County, and the Heart of Appalachia Talent Search Program, which serves middle and high schools in Mason and Wayne counties.

“West Virginia has some of the finest education institutions in the country, and it is important that we continue to support universities that help our students succeed,” Capito said in a news release.

The Empowering Appalachia program received $260,160 and serves 542 students in Cabell County. The Heart of Appalachia program serves 600 students and was awarded $282,150.

“The funding permits the university to assist students in the target areas by helping them gain the skills necessary to succeed in secondary and then successfully transition to post-secondary,” Angela Holley, director of Marshall University’s Heart of Appalachia Talent Search Program, told the West Virginia Record.

The Talent Search Programs identify students who have potential in succeeding in college and focuses primarily on students who may be the first in their family to go to college and/or who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“It gives the university the opportunity to have highly qualified staff, with an association with Marshall, to become part of the schools and community,” Holley said.

The Talent Search Programs also provide counseling in academics, careers and financial aid and encourage students to graduate from high school and go on to college.

“Students residing in the target area can apply to participate in the Talent Search Program at any time throughout the year,” Holley said.

Both the Empowering Appalachia and Heart of Appalachia Talent Search Programs offer various things to high school students. The Empowering Appalachia program will include new services like web-based tutoring, summer mentoring to assist recent graduates in enrolling in college, and a mentoring program in partnership with the Huntington City Mission to help homeless youths.

In the Heart of Appalachian program, web-based tutoring will also be available. The program is also partnering with the Department of Mathematics to implement an online college-level course to build math skills. The summer mentoring program will also be in place, as will the addition of an academic coordinator who will monitor tutoring and help develop curriculum in accordance with state standards.

Holley said students in the target areas may apply for the programs by contacting Marshall University’s program directors – her or Heather Warren – via the website

“We will happily guide them through the application process,” Holley said.

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